Melatonin, subjectively our favourite hormone after serotonin (our happy hormone), helps us to sleep at night. The hormone is primarily released by the pineal gland at night, also known as the time to get some sleep hormone.
Our body naturally produces melatonin but it is also purchased in supplement forms for kids and adults. It is one of the most popular natural products as it enhances rest, calmness and relaxation.
Why would you consider taking melatonin supplements?
Stress and Anxiety
Since the coronavirus hit, many lives have been impacted causing stress and unwanted anxiety. Being in a heightened state of alertness and stress constantly can delay the onset of sleep and cause rapid, anxious thoughts to appear late at night. It is important to unwind at the end of the day as you prepare for a good night's rest, however, if you are stressed or anxious you may not end up falling asleep easily and it may result in a restless night.
Your sleep and mood are very closely connected as you may have noticed yourself, feeling cranky on those days you get less than 8 hours of sleep. Supplementing melatonin can alleviate stress and therefore help you fall asleep faster and receive a higher quality of sleep than when you are under pressure. Melatonin can be used to treat delayed sleep phases aiding in signs of insomnia.
Melatonin is a supplement used by many internationally as a sleep aid used to combat insomnia, trouble falling asleep as well as jet lag. This hormone is important because it tells your body when it is time to rest as it naturally produces higher levels at night once the sun is set. Melatonin levels drop once the sun begins to rise to allow you to wake up; it works like a natural body clock. Your body produces melatonin but due to external factors such as stress, it may not be providing a sufficient amount, which is when we may turn to supplements.
What causes melatonin levels to be low?
There are many factors that come into account when accessing why you may not be producing enough Melatonin, including:
- Exposure to light at night time
- Jet lag from travelling and changing time zones
- Nutritional deficiencies
- Lack of sleep or even poor sleep quality.
When melatonin levels are low, it can become increasingly difficult to fall asleep and you may feel wide awake past your bedtime. Low melatonin levels can also cause a decrease in immunity, making you more susceptible to catching colds or feeling unwell.
Melatonin supplements provides benefits such as:
- Improved mood.
- Boost to immune system
- Prevention of premature ageing
- Prevention of fat gain.
However, taking too many melatonin supplements can have adverse effects on your health.
Some of the disadvantages of taking Melatonin supplements include:
- Excessive sleepiness
- Stomach discomfort.
How to increase your body's production of melatonin naturally
There are many ways to increase your body’s production of melatonin naturally. Below are some useful tips to take into consideration:
- Avoid looking at your phone for two hours before you fall asleep as the blue light from your phone can shut down the production of melatonin
- Eat melatonin rich foods such as; cucumbers, corn, pomegranate, nuts and seeds
- Take a warm bath - this can help reduce your stress hormone, cortisol. It is also very relaxing and can make you feel sleepy
- Reduce your caffeine intake
- Meditate to help reduce anxiety, relax and de-stress
- Keep stress levels low at night.
Whether you feel the need to take melatonin supplements is completely subjective and can be discussed with your local doctor. There are many benefits to taking melatonin supplements. However, this is a supplement each individual will react to differently and many people may already produce enough melatonin.